Despite the large class size at Harvard Law School, the school divides students into smaller groups to maximize student/faculty interaction. In addition, first-year students participate in reading groups of 10 to 12 people, each with faculty leaders who select the group topics and also serve as the students’ advisors. Moreover, the majority of HLS’s 400 offered courses (more than any other law school in the world) have fewer than 25 students enrolled, including more than 75 seminars in which small groups of students work directly with a faculty member.
In addition to the many opportunities to learn from some of the best legal minds in the country (including Dean John Manning and Professor Cass Sunstein), HLS students can cross-enroll in classes at other top-notch schools such as Harvard Business School, the Harvard Kennedy School, and even MIT.
Although each student can enroll in any classes they wish, HLS offers optional Programs of Study that direct upper-level students to classes and faculty aligned with their specific areas of interest. These programs cover the fields of Law and Government; Law and Business; International and Comparative Law; Law, Science, and Technology; Law and Social Change; Criminal Justice; and Law and History.
Harvard Law School offers five joint- or dual-degree programs, including a JD/MBA with Harvard Business School, a JP/MPP or JP/MPA-ID with Harvard Kennedy School, and an international JD/LLM program with the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law. As part of its Semester Abroad program, HLS has exchange agreements with ten schools, including such prestigious universities as the University of Geneva, Sciences Po Law School in Paris, and Renmin Law School in Beijing.
To encourage collaboration among students and alleviate concerns prospective students may have about HLS’s cutthroat reputation, the school instituted an Honors, Pass, Low Pass, and Fail grading system. The school does not rank its students, and grading curves are never published.
Clinical and Experiential Learning
Harvard Law School offers a variety of clinical programs, mostly instructed by practicing attorneys rather than HLS faculty, and all are open to second-year, third-year, and LLM students—giving students not only invaluable hands-on experience, but also a way to complete the school’s required 50 hours of pro bono service.
In addition, HLS offers other avenues to gain real-world experience, including externship clinics across the country, independent clinical research anywhere in the world, and pro bono work through one of the school’s 11 Student Practice Organizations.
Class Profile (Class of 2024)
Number of Applications: 9,993
Class Size: 560
Students of Color: 56%
Median LSAT: 174
Median GPA: 3.92
Career Placement (Class of 2020)
- Law Firms: 60.612%
- Judicial Clerkships: 18.345%
- Public Interest: 11.331%
- Business and Industry: 4.137%
- Government: 4.137%
- Education: 1.439%